Reference: The Antique
The Bramah lock gave a new level of security to boxes. The presence of a
Bramah lock which were complicated to manufacture is almost a sure sign
that the box with it was intended for the quality end of the
Origin: United Kingdom
Materials: brass and
The story of Joseph Bramah's locks begins in 1784 when he was granted
letters patent for "a LOCK, constructed on a new and
infallible Principle, which, possessing all the Properties essential
to Security, will prevent the most ruinous Consequences of HOUSE
ROBBERIES, and be a certain Protection against Thieves of all
The lock was not Bramah's only successful
invention. Some 6 years earlier he had invented an early form of flush
toilet (1778), but that is another story. Later he invented a printing
press for banknotes.
Bramah was born in in 1748 into a Yorkshire farming family. When he was
16, an accident left him lame. Unable to continue farm work he was apprenticed
to the village carpenter.
He came to London as a journeyman cabinetmaker.
Much of his work
was developing tooling for manufacturing processes. He employed both Henry
Maudslay and Joseph
Clement. in his workshop. Maudslay went on to invent a super accurate micrometer.
While he worked for Bramah he is credited for having made many of the
specialized machines needed to make the Bramah lock. In 1810 he was
dismissed by Bramah when he asked for a rise. He set up his own precision
In 1784, The Bramah lock company opened in Denmark Street but
quickly moved to 124 Piccadilly.
In 1798 the patent was extended for a further 14 years.